From: Chip Ballew, former RCI employee, published on the Prodigy Bulletin Board
"Having retired from RCI after 6 and ½ years service, I'll be happy to share some tips and insight on how RCI works.
The Gold Crown recognition award from RCI is misunderstood by many people (especially new-timeshare sales people!).
RCI has two different awards given. Gold Crown is the highest award, which is given to approx. 10% of RCI's resorts. It is a recognition award only ; IT DOES NOT AFFECT THE LIKELIHOOD OF GETTING AN EXCHANGE.
Gold Crown recognizes quality, based upon comment cards received by members who stayed at the resort on exchange.
Demand (or value of the week deposited) is what determines who gets what.
There are Gold Crown resorts in Iowa. Owning a January week in Iowa is not going to guarantee you getting an exchange to Hawaii!
What owning at a Gold Crown resort does mean is that you will get exchanges to similar quality resorts.
If a resort offered to you isn't Gold Crown, DON'T REJECT IT JUST BECAUSE OF THAT FACT. Any offered resort should be of similar quality to the week you are trading."
We concur with Mr. Ballew's comments above.
Our broker discovered while attempting to exchange his Gold Crown week that owning a Gold Crown week was actually LIMITING HIS EXCHANGE because the RCI computer is programmed to not allow a Gold Crown week to exchange into a non-Gold Crown resort! All he wanted to do was exchange into any resort in the whole geographical area, and since there were no Gold Crown resorts in the area, he was effectively blocked out from the whole geographical area.
Buyer prospects often parrot what some timeshare salesman told them; that they must buy a Gold Crown or 5 Star resort, because "Gold Crown Resort resorts trade better", or "you have to own Gold Crown to trade for Gold Crown." Both ideas are myths. RCI has never stated that the Gold Crown designation is a key factor in the trade power of a deposited week.
Rather, RCI has consistently published that the most important factors determining trade power are:
1. The past demand for the resort and 2. How long the week has been deposited.
This means that a week from a non-Gold Crown resort in a high demand area (especially if deposited well in advance), will have more trade power than a Gold Crown resort located in a lower demand area.
It is easy to see why experienced timeshare users and exchangers focus more on location than resort ratings.
They realize that they will pay substantially more for a rated resort, but avoid doing it since it won't trade any better. They wisely take advantage of a bargain price when they see it in a resort in a high demand area, knowing that exchanges can be made into the finest resorts, including RCI Gold Crown and I.I. 5-Star resorts!